L.A. Weekly (Pick of the
thunder'n'lightinin' romance between ex-spouses crackling
around a restraining order lies in the vain heart of Jeff
Goode (book) and Richard Levinson's (songs) new musical, set
in an undisclosed locale, but here it sounds a whole lot
like west Texas. And though this is a countrified variation
on Erin Kamler's urban and urbane Divorce! The Musical,
that played at the Coast Playhouse earlier this year,
director Jeremy Aldridge does double-duty to seduce us into
an environment, as he did with last year's hit at this same
theater, Louis & Keely, Live at the Sahara. David
Knutson's set transforms the theater into small town
canteen/gas station, with plastic L.P records and American
flags pinned to the wall. Jaimie Froemming's Texas costumes
can make you feel a tad out of place for leaving that shirt
with the fringe and the cowboy boots in the closet. And
there are other striking similarities between Savin' Up
and Louis & Keely: a marriage on the rocks, an
onstage band (honky-tonk rather than jazz, consisting of
musical director/guitarist John Groover McDuffie, who's also
on Pedal Steel; Peter Freiberger on bass; Dave Fraser on
piano; John Palmer on drums; and Al Bonhomme, alternating on
guitar). Levinson's songs are a throwback to early Elton
John, when he was working with Bernie Taupin, with a twist
of Randy Newman's harmonic grandeur. Each of the two acts
opens with a ballad accompanied just by piano ("Dr.
Bartender" and "Small Town") that have simple yet haunting
harmonic progressions from John's earliest albums, and the
shit-kicking Act 2 "Gotta Lotta Rockin' To Do" is a musical
nod to John's "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)."
Also echoing Louis & Keely is a dimension that makes
this show just right for L.A. -- a prevalent tension between
narcissism and the capacity to give of oneself, that's
perfectly embodied in the delusions of Eldridge, Jr.
(Brendan Hunt), a local homophobe who believes he possesses
the charisma and style of Elvis Presley. In fact, he has a
slight speech impediment and a deranged glint in his eye.
His singing act dominates the bar, with his name in lights
as a backdrop. (A number of the bulbs tellingly need
replacing, like in his own emotional circuitry.) Can he win
back his ex, Lucinda (the vivacious Natascha Corrigan) - a
woman of machine-gun wit and fury who works double time to
penetrate the impenetrable veneer of Eldridge's ego. Things
get touchy, when Eldridge's long time friend, bartender Doc
(the bear-like Bryan Krasner) finally has the guts to make a
move of Lucinda, while sweet Patsy (Courtney DeCosky) cares
for Eldridge - but not that much. It's a thin entertainment,
enhanced by Allison Bibicoff's sashaying choreography, but
an entertainment nonetheless. Its tone of sentimentality
sprinkled with metaphysics is embodied in the song "Here,"
beautifully rendered by Rachel Howe, who plays a daffy
waitress. The place and people can make you so insane, you
want to flee, she croons: "And I know someday/We're all
just gonna disappear/So I want to take the time right now to
say/I really love it here."
--Steven Leigh Morris
The Santa Monica Daily Press
Not Just Another Song and Dance
Well, who’d a thunk a bunch of cowboys and their
mini-skirted girlfriends stompin’ on a Saturday night at a
seedy, honky-tonk bar on the outskirts of Nowheresville
would keep you grinnin’ from ear to ear the whole time? And
make you wanna hurry back home to the trailer park to pig
out on pork rinds and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
It’s the world premiere of a bright, original musical by the
Sacred Fools Theater Company called “Savin’ Up For Saturday
Night,” and it’s authentic and romantic and loads of fun.
Written by Jeff Goode, with songs by Richard Levinson,
directed by Jeremy Aldridge, and performed by a sensational
cast of 13, this musical will take you completely by
First of all, there’s David Knutson’s incredibly tacky set
that exudes so much personality it should get a billing all
its own. Decorated with highway signs, hubcaps, old 78-rpm
records, and a bright neon beer sign, it catapults you into
the play before you even take your seat. The singers slide
down a shiny brass pole to get to the stage and exit through
a door marked “kitchen.” Presumably, there’s a gas station
attached to the premises, which is why the place is called
“The Ready Bar ‘N Fill.” All that’s missing is the requisite
Then, there’s Doc, the bartender (Bryan Krasner), who pours
from an endless supply of half-filled liquor bottles and
dispenses wisdom and advice to his Saturday night regulars.
A soft- spoken, gentle man with a ripe, bartender voice, you
love him immediately. In contrast to Eldridge (Brendan
Hunt), the owner of the bar and the main “entertainment,”
who takes a lot of getting used to. A raucous singer with
moves that Elvis never even thought of, Hunt and his
spangled jacket dominate the small platform/stage and the
four band members crowded in behind him. The band, by the
way, is terrific, led by musical director and guitarist John
Groover McDuffie, with Peter Freiberger on bass, John Palmer
on drums, and Dave Fraser, who plays piano as well as a
comic character named Roddy.
The girl in the musical is Lucinda (Natascha Corrigan), a
sassy, sexy babe who is the ex- wife of Eldridge and the
pined-for love of Doc, the shy bartender, who finally
summons the nerve to make a pass at her with a song called
“Let’s Do Something Cheap and Superficial.”
The dancing couples, seated at small tables around the edges
of the stage, and sometimes in the audience, don’t have
speaking parts, they just dance up a storm to the lively
choreography of Allison Bibicoff. Except for Rachel Howe,
who, as the bar’s only waitress, not only dances but sings a
ballad called “Here” to the bar itself, which she loves.
The plot proceeds mainly through the songs, and, especially
in the first act, it feels like there are a couple too many
of them. But I can’t imagine which ones to cut. They each do
a fine job of fleshing out the characters and are clever and
“Savin’ Up For Saturday Night” may not be everybody’s cup of
tea. Country music is certainly not mine. But this musical
is so exuberant and so fresh that you have to enjoy it in
spite of yourself. And at the end you can even go onstage
and dance with the players!
Monica Daily Press
Set up another round of drinks bartender ‘cause every night
is Saturday night at the Honky Tonk Bar and Fill, the scene
for Savin’ Up For Saturday Night, the first show of
the season at Sacred Fools Theater Company. Written by Jeff
Goode (book) and Richard Levinson (music & lyrics), this
world premiere musical more than delivers on its promise of
a good time. Relationships are complicated everywhere and
love in this small town is no exception.
Director Jeremy Aldridge has assembled a stellar cast,
beginning with Brendan Hunt as Eldridge Junior Paisley, the
headliner and owner of the bar. If ever there was a role
Hunt was born to play, it’s this one. In his yellow stretch
polyester outfit, Hunt sings up a storm, dances like a man
possessed, and commits to his wacky character in a way that
makes you love Eldridge no matter what his faults may be.
After all, this is a man who slides down a pole from his
dressing room to make an entrance and switches off the
lights on his own sign when he storms out the door in
frustration proclaiming, “The fun has left the building.”
All you can do is shake your head and laugh.
Natascha Corrigan plays Eldridge’s ex-wife and singing
partner Lucinda. Here’s a woman full of sass with a singing
voice to die for, and a wise-cracking sex appeal that spins
Eldridge around at every turn. Their stormy relationship
still smolders with unresolved passion and allows for some
great comic moments as each struggles to get the upper hand.
The third character mixed up in love is Doc, the bartender,
played by Bryan Krasner. In true bartender fashion, Krasner
keeps the place grounded with his everyman demeanor and down
to earth advice. He’s the kind of man you can feel safe
around and Krasner knows exactly what to do with him...now
if Doc only knew what to do with Lucinda.
And finally there’s Patsy, played by the lovely Courtney
DeCosky. Sweet, but a little slow on the uptake, she’s
replaced Lucinda as the object of Eldridge’s affection and
is about to get her big chance replacing her onstage as
well. DeCosky’s got the pipes to prove she’s up to the task.
Her rendition of “She Wanted To Be A Singer” is one of the
best of the night.
Rounding out the cast are Rachel Howe as first-time waitress
Sissy, and Dave Fraser as grease monkey/piano player Roddy.
He’s one fifth of the terrific band led by musical
director/guitarist John Groover McDuffie, along with Peter
Freiberger on bass, John Palmer on drums and Al Bonhomme
alternating on guitar. They’ll make you want to jump out on
the dance floor and join in the fun…and if you’re lucky you
just might get the chance.
Allison Bibicoff’s choreography adds a sparkling layer of
authenticity to the show executed by some expert country
western dancers like Rhonda Diamond and Don Baker, who hold
three UCWDC World Championship titles in the Couples Diamond
Showcase and Pro-am Showcase divisions. Along with them are
Ceasar F. Barajas, Mike Kluck, Gregg Moon, Gina Tucci and
The production team, especially Dave Knutson (set designer)
and Lisa Anne Nicolai (props) have done an exceptional job
of transforming the theatre into the country western
roadhouse. With Priscilla, the stuffed Jackalope, up on the
wall and bottles of liquor and motor oil for sale nightly,
this establishment is appropriately, and happily, more than
a little frayed around the edges.
Don't miss the fun.
Frontiers in L.A.
Sacred Fools is one of L.A.’s edgiest
companies, so it came as a surprise last year when a musical
called Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara was announced
for the Fools’ season. It proved to be knockout
entertainment with a kicky cabaret sensibility, but also
much more than that. The mesmerizing show, written by and
starring Vanessa Claire Smith and Jake Broder, as the
legendary real-life entertainers of the title, was also a
heart-wrenching bio-drama about a passionate romance doomed
to failure. The little-show-that-could swept every L.A.
theater award imaginable, played for months at the Sacred
Fools, then at the Matrix and ended up in a revamped version
at the Geffen Playhouse last spring, where it’s still
running, and clearly bound for bigger things.
Small wonder that the Sacred Fools decided to enter the
musical fray again, with a new show helmed by Louis & Keely’s original
director, Jeremy Aldridge. The artistic aims of Savin’ are clearly far
more modest—a toe-tapping piffle for audiences eager to forget their troubles
and wallow in unpretentious, country-fried fun. The songs by Richard Levinson
and other collaborators are rousing, allowing for energetic, foot-stompin’ dance
numbers (spryly choreographed by Allison Bibicoff)...
The plot feels disposable, yet the emphasis on atmospherics
works wonders, thanks to David Knutson’s evocative set design, which makes for a
terrific environmental staging. Aldridge periodically breaks the fourth wall to
give us a nifty you-are-there feel, simulating a seedy dive in an unspecified
rural town... The five-member band, under the musical direction of John Groover
McDuffie, adds to the show’s simple pleasures. Don’t go expecting
Shakespeare-heck, not even Best Little Whorehouse in Texas — and this
whimsical shit-kickin’ romp should provide a good time.
Frontiers in L.A.
...there is a rough-and-tumble charm to
this honky-tonk musical set in a roadside bar in Texas, with
music and lyrics by Richard Levinson and book by Jeff Goode.
The show is a bit slow to warm up, but under Jeremy
Aldridge’s direction the play is cooking by the second act.
Top billing for the bar’s Saturday night show goes to
Eldridge Paisley Jr. (Brendan Hunt), who is headliner and
owner of the bar. Eldridge is a cross between an Elvis
wannabe and the loudmouthed twerp in high school you wanted
to punch out. His ex-wife and former co-star, Lucinda (Natascha
Corrigan), whom he is alternately wooing and screaming at,
also makes a regular Saturday night appearance at the
bar—complete with heavy drinking, flirting, and stealing the
mike for some singing of her own. Refereeing these domestic
showdowns, along with the rest of the honky-tonk hubbub, is
the bartender Doc (Bryan Krasner), who has carried a flame
for Lucinda since high school. He may get his chance with
her soon, because Eldridge has now fallen for a young
waitress, Patsy (Courtney DeCosky), whom he has promoted to
singer and who is about to make her onstage debut.
Levinson’s music is all country, all the time, with a mix of
ballads and stompers that get the supporting cast of
waitresses and patrons out on the dancing floor. There are a
couple of emotionally dynamic ballads, such as “She Wanted
to Be A Singer” and “When We Dance,” as well as the light
and tender “Let’s Do Something Cheap and Superficial”...
Hunt is solid and energetic as the prancing Eldridge and
uses his comic timing to capture the shades of dark and
light in his character. Corrigan is strong and appealing in
voice and acting, and Krasner is convincing and lovable as
Doc. There are also notable performances by Dave Fraser as
the piano-playing mechanic and Rachel Howe as the waitress
who delivers the moving and heartfelt final number.
However, the bravura performance of the show is by DeCosky,
who seizes the spirit of the wistful and wonderful Patsy
like catching a firefly in a bottle. DeCosky has a
remarkably charismatic stage presence—that rarified ability
to rivet an audience’s attention in an understated, organic
way. Apart from her powerful acting gifts, DeCosky also is a
magnificent singer, not only through vocal skills but also
through her gift for touching the heart with every lyric.
Her renditions of “She Wanted to Be a Singer” and “When We
Dance” are transcendent.
Jeff Goode and Richard
Levinson are "Savin' Up For Saturday Night"
It's almost show time at The Honky Tonk Bar and Fill, a one
stop gas station and dance hall in the tiny town of Ready,
U.S.A. The band is warming up on stage, as the bartender
limps over to the dressing room and pounds on the door.
And so begins Savin' Up For Saturday
Night, a world premiere country-western dance hall
musical, with book by Jeff Goode (The Reindeer
Monologues) and music & lyrics by Richard Levinson
(Songwriter, True Blood). The show will open Sacred
Fools Theater Company's thirteenth season (September 18 -
October 24, 2009) and is directed by Jeremy Aldridge (Louis
& Keely Live at the Sahara) and choreographed by
Allison Bibicoff (Xanadu on Broadway).
Lovin' ain't easy in this one-honky-tonk
town, and when the bandleader and the bartender fall for the
same dance hall girl, you can bet all heckfire's bustin'
loose. You're in for an evening of non-stop toe-tappers, cat
fights, and love quadrangles.
Featured as the cast's troubled trio are
Bryan Krasner as Doc, Brendan Hunt as Eldridge and Natascha
Corrigan as Lucinda, with Courtney DeCosky (Patsy), Dave
Fraser (Roddy) and Rachel Howe (Sissy). Dancers are Ceasar
F. Barajas, Mike Kluck, Gregg Moon, Don Baker, Rhonda
Diamond, Gina Tucci and Natasha Norman.
I caught up with busy writers Jeff Goode
and Richard Levinson and asked them how it all began.
This musical's genesis is unique
in that the songs were written before the book instead of
simultaneously. Did you always have in mind that the songs
would eventually turn into a musical?
Richard: Yes, but not as
I was writing them because they were all written for
different reasons, and I'd written so many songs over a
period of years. Eventually I saw that I actually had a
catalogue of country songs that I could group together. I'd
met Jeff several years ago at No Shame Theatre and we had
worked on some short projects together. I gave him some of
the songs to look at and told him I had this idea. We were
both busy, but a year and a half later he called and asked
what I was doing with those country songs. He had an idea
for them and he came back very quickly with an outline of a
script. We've had some rewrites and polish work since then
but our story is 75% the story he created right away.
Jeff, what did you hear in the
songs that gave you the story idea for the musical?
Jeff: I listened to the
CD Richard sent me and they're great songs. I liked them
all. They were solid, and the idea of writing a show where
the score was already tight was really appealing to me. As I
listened to them, an atmosphere came to me. Many of them are
dance songs so I started thinking about a dance hall and a
honky tonk (a place where music is being played and people
are dancing). I could also see the three main characters
begin to emerge.
You could see the characters in
Jeff: Yes, I had a vibe
from the songs to begin with but then the characters jumped
out fairly quickly. One of the first songs in the show is
called "Dr. Bartender" and that really defined a character
for me that was easy to expand upon. Several other songs
didn't sound like they were really story-related but sounded
like something Eldridge, the band leader, would sing. And
then, in some of the relationship songs about a
dysfunctional relationship, I saw this girl who was the best
dancer in the place that everybody wants. Once I saw those
three characters, I knew that there was a story that could
be told using these songs as an anchor.
Did anything about that story
Richard: No, but what
really surprised me was that I recognized all of the people.
Jeff made their individual stories very clear. I know
Eldridge, the band leader. I've worked with that guy many
times before, and Doc is the kind of person that I think
will be familiar to a lot of people.
Jeff, your plays often have an
edge or deal with subject matter in a satirical way, yet
this musical is a bit more mainstream. Will people who know
you be surprised by it?
Jeff: I think one of the
things that I'm good at is character, and the only thing
that really makes this show different is that I've selected
a set of characters that are in a part of the country that I
haven't written about that much before, but my way of
working with characters is similar... the way the humor
comes from the characters and situations rather than just
Our core audience for this show is a
little more mainstream. Compared to some of my work there's
very little obscenity. We wanted this show to appeal to a
wide audience so you think about who those people are - how
they're going to feel, how they're going to approach it - so
if it's challenging it's still going to be within the realm
of what that audience is going to like and find interesting.
You're a writer whose work
actually gets produced on a regular basis across the
country, not just in LA. What do you think is the key?
Jeff: I think a lot of
writers don't get produced because they start to write what
they really want to write without thinking if someone else
wants it. That's one of the first things I think about. I
have all kinds of ideas ready to go that I look at and ask
myself, who is the audience for this? Why spend a year or
two years working on something that isn't going to get
Generally it's people who know you and
have worked with you before who will take a risk on your
work, so having a good relationship with them is important.
Then when you ask them to read something new, instead of it
going onto the stack, it actually gets read because they
enjoyed working with you the last time, and this one also
happens to fit their theatre perfectly because you know
their situation. As my career has gone on, that group of
people has gotten larger, but when I was younger, it was one
That's one of the first things I learned
from John Patrick Shanley. I did an internship with him when
I was in college on Beggars in the House of Plenty
at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and it was something like his
sixth show there. I think he started out with them as an
usher. Well, Beggars wasn't quite there yet and
during the process he said Manhattan Theatre Club lets him
do these shows because they know he'll deliver the goods.
(But he said it with a Brooklyn accent). And that's
important. That's one of the reasons people don't take risks
on playwrights they don't know.
How did you ultimately end up at
Sacred Fools with this show?
Richard: I've been a
member of Sacred Fools Theater for about three years and
done a number of things there, like Louis & Keely,
and really enjoyed working with the company. We sent the
script to Jeremy, who also directed Louis & Keely,
and he felt it was 80% of the way ready and we should go for
it. Then the Sacred Fools submission deadline was coming up.
They liked it and were considering it within the context of
the entire season, ultimately opening with it.
How did adding a director to your
creative team impact your collaboration?
Richard: It's been very
interesting for me. Jeremy is very visual and has a real
commitment to the relationships between the characters and
how that will be communicated to an audience. He's really
wonderful at it and he'll see things in the script I never
saw before. Both Jeremy and Jeff have been very helpful in
the collaboration process creating this musical.
So this has been a growth process
for you as an artist as well?
Richard: No question
about it. The process itself is very gratifying for me, very
hands on. I'm having a terrific time putting the components
together and I think the final product is going to be great
fun to watch.
Jeff: I've written a lot
of different types of shows, things that are funny, things
that are hopefully beautifully written or clever, and I do
think this is a really fun show. It's exhilarating watching
the dance numbers and songs, and the actors are great too.
(And, we're even serving beer during the performances too).
Los Angeles Examiner
Life, Louis and the Fools go
Nice to see director Jeremy Aldridge not only back working at
the Sacred Fools Theatre (where he is a company member) but also as one of the
drawing cards for the Fools’s season opening production of the country cabaret
“Savin’ up for Saturday Night.”
Aldridge, “Savin’ Up’s” director, helmed the first
incarnation of “Louis
& Keely: Live at the Sahara” in its world premiere at the Fools in May of
2008. The Louis Prima/Keely Smith musical went on to play the Matrix and then
take up residence at the Geffen Playhouse where it’s been playing since March
(it’s on something like its fifth extension). Info: click
Now, Aldridge did not direct the reconfigured “L&K” for the
Geffen. That task went to filmdom’s Taylor (“Ray”) Hackford, and the buzz is
that if the creators eventually take “L&K” on tour and ultimately to New York,
Hackford will not go with it, meaning the project could be in line for a third
But back to the Sacred Fools. “Savin Up” features music and
lyrics by Richard Levinson and a book by Jeff Goode. The tale concerns a small
town honkeytonk establishment where the bandleader and bartender both fall for
the same dance hall girl. Sept. 18 through Oct. 24.
Los Angeles Examiner
L.A. Stage Blog (2 articles)
Ovation Fellows are current students
or recent alumni from Los Angeles area universities. Fellows
are paired with a Mentor, currently serving as an Ovation
Award voter, and see productions and meet artists around
Greater Los Angeles throughout the year. Their articles,
posted on LAStageBlog, are intended to be their personal
responses to their experiences, and not as critical reviews
or representing the views of LA Stage Alliance.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - Served Warm, With
a Side of Carrot Cake
Savin’ Up for Saturday Night, a new musical by Jeff
Goode, songs by Richard Levinson, directed by Jeremy
Aldridge, choreography by Allison Bibicoff, is now playing
at Sacred Fools.
Feel free to kick up your feet or join the country line
dancing because this production welcomes audience
involvement. At first you might think you walked into a
Charlaine Harris novel with Sookie Stackhouse serving you a
drink but then the lights dim, a thick no-nonsense
bartender, whom the town calls Doc, begins to narrate about
small town life, failed love and a girl named Lucinda. The
story unfolds as Lucinda, played by Natascha Corrigan, and
Eldridge, her ex-husband and bar owner, reveal their corrupt
relationship while taking turns singing against each other
on stage. Eldridge, played by Brendan Hunt, is more
interested in his nightly routine as the bar’s only source
of entertainment than his new gal, Patsy, a nervous waitress
who’s forced to sing while Eldridge goes on break to fight
with ex-wife Lucinda. Resolution comes swiftly as the
ex-couple make an effort to rekindle their love, only to
realize it’s time to move on and for Lucinda to move out of
the small town she’s called home.
Bassist Peter Freiberger, keyboardist David Fraser,
guitarist John Groover and drummer John Palmer are the
musicians who make up the core ensemble of Savin’ Up for
Saturday Night. Fraser tickles the ivory while playing a
supporting role in the production as the bar’s honky tonk
bandleader whose only obsession is to sing us a song he’s
composed. He gets his chance too when “last call” is served.
Savin’ Up for Saturday Night’s whirlwind story takes
the audience on a comedic ride of country twang, alcoholics
and synchronized dosey-doe while making an honest and
genuine attempt to explain why some people are just not
meant for each other.
Save Up for Savin' Up
Downtown Los Angeles is perhaps the last
place one would go to find a good ol’ honky tonk bar, but
thanks to the Sacred Fools and “Savin’ Up for Saturday
Night”, the spirit of the South may be closer than we think.
The Sacred Fools theater is situated in a less-than-desirable
neighborhood among a cluster of other buildings. However, upon entering the
theater and being greeted with a warm “Howdy there!” it was as if I had walked
into my favorite bar and was among friends. Aside from the cleverly designed set
– fully equipped with small dinner tables, a cheesy stage for the band to play
on and the ever-present Pabst Beer neon sign glowing in the corner – the
audience is welcomed into the bar by the actors roaming the audience. Some are
trying to get a drink order and others just want to chat.
The play’s action begins seamlessly, almost to make the
audience wonder, “Oh wait, is it starting now?” Lively country rock music fills
the bar along with exciting dancing thanks to choreographer Allison Bibicoff.
While this is Allison’s first time working with this group, she is no newcomer
to the stage.
“Savin’ Up” is a new musical, and that brings with it many
exciting possibilities and many challenges.
“It’s not like doing ‘West Side Story,’” said Bibicoff. “We
had to figure out what the numbers would be and where we were going with the
Allison admits that one of the luxuries to working with a new
piece is having the writer and composer available.
Other challenges that were addressed were how to cater the
choreography and dance numbers to those members of the cast who were not strong
“With the numbers we try to tailor them to (the actor’s)
strengths,” said Bibicoff. Some of her dancers were strong partner dancers while
others were strong musical theater dancers; it was finding the common ground in
the middle that would make this a great show, and they sure succeeded.
Fully equipped with kicks and flips, “Savin’ Up” left nothing
to be desired for the dancing, and the entire cast looked fabulous.
What is next for the show? “We love the show” said Allison.
“It has a great appeal and we want it to move to bigger theaters to keep the
L.A. Stage Times (Interview)
2010 Ovation Nominee Profile - Brendan
Brendan Hunt is a 2009/2010 Ovation Nominee in the Lead
Actor in a Musical category for his work on Savin’ Up for
Saturday Night with Sacred Fools Theatre Company.
LA Stage asked Brendan Hunt the following questions:
What was the first theatrical production you ever attended
and what impact did it have on you?
A production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at
Court Theatre in Chicago. Blew my 11 year-old mind. I had no
idea until then how hilarious Shakespeare was; there was
just SO MUCH going on. It wasn’t necessarily that show that
made me decide to be an actor, but it sure set me down the
path. As a side note, Midsummer remains my favorite
What is your most cherished theater memory?
I studied theater at Illinois State, a program with a pretty
decent share of notable alumni, Judith Ivey among them. She
came and did a week-long master class with a handful of
seniors and MFA students. She had me do the big monologue
from I Hate Hamlet in a far ballsier manner than my
timid young self had even considered doing. It was a massive
confidence boost — life-changing, really — the first time I
ever felt in control of my facilities, the first time I felt
for sure that I could do this for a living.
For someone as successful as Ms. Ivey to take the time to
help young hopefuls such as us meant a lot on its own. But I
ended up coming away from it with something very tangibly
Which LA theatre artists’ work do you consider a ‘Must See’?
I try (and fail, sadly) to see everything Kiff Scholl
directs. I don’t miss a show done by the Echo, nor by Sacred
Fools. And I think every artist should see the improv group
“Dasariski” at I.O.; improv IS a kind of theatre, and
especially when done by this exceptionally consistent trio.
What is your favorite thing about working in the theater in
The modernity. The scene here seems particularly focused on
new works and new ways of working, and I think that is very
much to LA’s credit.
If you could change one thing about theatre in Los Angeles,
what would it be?
I wish the social scene was more streamlined, so all the
disparate pockets of hangoutery could more often overlap.
Maybe I’m just too accustomed to the everyone-knows-everyone
way things work in Chicago, and am wishing for something
impossible to reproduce here. But I’ve found that as far as
theater-types are concerned, familiarity breeds intent.
Who’s the first person you texted or tweeted when you got
the news about your nomination?
By coincidence of timing, I was in rehearsals for the
re-mount of the show for which I was nominated. So I
received quite the handful of congratulations before I could
even get a moment to spread the news. The next day I finally
got around to telling my family back in Chicago. One must
consider the time difference, y’know.